Results tagged ‘ ice cream helmet ’
This game, just like the one I went to on Saturday, was attended strictly from a game watching standpoint only.
The weather was better this day, but not good enough to offer any batting practice. That makes at least three games in a row that I have been to that have not had BP.
Oh well, at least there was baseball!
Now that you know that, this entry is going to be shorter than normal. I took some photos at this game, but not of the stadium. This game I decided to take some photos of some of the players.
But first, a look at the field from our seats….
…. and the centerfield message board just prior to gametime….
“It’s baseball time in Texas!” Quoting the great Ballpark in Arlington announcer, Chuck Morgan.
The next one is of Rangers left fielder David Murphy….
Is it me, or does he look like he was just caught relieving himself on the grass? Probably just me.
Those are the only pictures I took from those seats. Our seats were pretty good, by the way, straight away left, first row. Not bad, but we moved after the third inning to our new favorite foul ball spot on the third base side.
Here’s Marlon Byrd at the plate….
I mainly took this one, because I was wearing his t-shirt at this game.
This next guy should not need any introduction….
…. but just in case you still don’t know who this is, it’s perennial gold-glover Omar Vizquel.
That guy is amazing in the field. I’ve personally seen him play three different infield positions this season and do superb at all of them. He’s awesome.
Speaking of awesome, what about this guy….
….come on, don’t tell me you don’t know who Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez is!?
10-time gold glove winning catcher. World Series winner. Definate first ballot hall of famer.
The pictures of Pudge were mainly so I could have proof that I watched him play in person.
By now you should be able to tell the camera angle has changed. We moved behind homeplate at the end of the eighth inning.
Here’s another that I like, it shows David Murphy at the plate with Nelson Cruz on deck….
We didn’t have any close calls in our original foul ball spot, and for the first couple batters, we didn’t have any behind homeplate either.
Until the top of the ninth.
Oakland A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki stepped into the batter’s box, batting right handed, and proceded to foul off the very first pitch. I was one seat over from the aisle seat and this foul ball came screaming back over the screen, and I had just enough time to jump out of my seat and reach across my body with my glove while jumping as high as I could (which isn’t very high I might add) only to miss the ball by mere inches. It didn’t touch my glove, but it came as close as it could without hitting it.
I turned around to see where the ball went, and it hit something; a step, wall edge, I’m not sure, all I know is that I had my back to the field and the ball hit whatever it hit and ricocheted over two sections to my right.
So close, so very close.
That was it for this game, Rangers lose 8-0. Two shutouts in a row.
Time of game; 2 hrs. 45 mins.
Next game: Fri. 9/18 vs. the Angels
BTW — There was ice cream to be had this game, and here are the helmets I came away with….
I only had one, the other two I found. I promise!
My friend Sam, who I attended this game with, invited me to join him and his company to this game. The company he works for had rented a suite for this game, so all but parking was free. I love free!
To those that may not know, Dr. Pepper Ballpark is home to the Frisco Roughriders, the AA affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Frisco is approximately two to two and a half hours from where I live. It’s always seemed too far to go for a minor league game, but “free” changes everything.
Thankfully, I work about halfway between my house and Frisco, so Sam and his neighbor Kevin picked me up on their way to the game. After taking two different toll roads and about one hour of driving, we made it. We found a parking spot and started walking towards the stadium and this is what it looked like as we got to the gate….
From that view you would never know there’s a ballpark in there. (“Except for the fact that it says “ballpark” on the sign”, I know what you’re thinking!)
We made our way from the gate to the field level concourse and this was our next view….
I had driven by this ballpark a couple times over the past few years, but I had not yet been inside. I didn’t know what to expect, or if I should have any expectations, but after this first view of the field and walking around a little, I was impressed.
The next plan of action after taking that photo was to find the suite we were supposed to be in, and since none of us had been there before, we wandered for a bit before asking someone for help.
It’s a good thing we asked too, because we never would have found it. I wish now that I would have photo-documented this better, but to give you an idea, there are basically an inner and outer concourse.
The inner concourse, where I took the previous photo from, continues all the way around the park. The outer concourse mirrors the inner, but does not go all the way around. More like foul pole to foul pole along the baseline sides. The outer concourse walkway is not concrete either, instead it looks like what they use on the warning track. Different but cool.
All of that was explained to give you a mental picture of what we were dealing with. The usher that we asked where we needed to go, led us around part of the outer concourse to where the suite was. I didn’t take any photos along the way, because we were trying to keep up with the fast walking usher, and I didn’t think about it.
Once we got inside the suite, I snapped this picture….
And this one too….
You see behind homeplate in the first picture? I think that’s pretty cool looking. That’s where the broadcasters/media people watch the game from.
If you look behind the dugout along the first base side, you’ll see the smaller sized buildings. Those are the suites.
And that’s where we were, except on the third base side.
After taking some obligatory photos of us standing by the railing, we ate some free burgers and hot dogs, and drank some free soda and beer (not all of us drank beer). We also received complimentary caps and visors.
Pretty cool deal if I say so myself!
We watched the first inning or so of the game, and then I wanted to wander. The first photo I took was of the left field/centerfield area….
You can see in those photos that there is lawn seating in left center. They have the same thing in right center.
Here’s a view from the left field side of the batter’s eye….
I love the way that looks!
I mentioned that right center had lawn seating, here’s something else that’s in right center….
That’s the best view I could get, and that’s with me sticking my camera through the wrought iron fence. That area is the Leslie’s Pool Zone, and you can get an idea where it is in the 1st field photo in this entry. It’s right above the word “Roughriders” in the right field wall. There’s a whole deck area out there that I guess you can rent by the game. There’s a grill and everything. That would be a cool experience!
I continued wandering and took this photo from the first base side….
Do you notice people on the field in the previous photo? On the lower left, right in front of the dugout? That would be three mothers with infants, and they are about to give them their first tastes of lemon juice. They showed the reactions on the video board and it was pretty hilarious. Gotta love the minor leagues!
I worked my way back to the suite and took this photo of the ‘Riders’ bullpen….
Pretty cool! The visitor’s bullpen is in the same location on the first base side.
Next, I wanted to check out the team store that was right below us, and took this photo of Sam and Kevin just before I went inside….
I love the layout of this stadium!
The team store wasn’t anything impressive. 30% end of season sale on some items, and they were still overpriced for my taste. An “official” Texas League ball for $10? No thanks.
At one point during the game, we were visited in the suite by one of the two mascots….
This is the female mascot named Daisy. The other one is male, and his name is Deuce. Sorry if she freaks you out, she had that effect on me too.
The later in the game it got, the more I wanted some ice cream. I had noticed earlier when I was wandering, that some people had ice cream helmets. Hmmmm….
Little did I know that the “ice cream” in the helmets was Dippin’ Dots. I had never tried those before, so I wasn’t real excited after that, but after eating it I must say I still prefer ice cream, but I’ll eat Dippin’ Dots again. They’re okay. Also, the helmets were MLB teams which made it even better! I had the Indians and someone gave me a Boston helmet after the game. (My daughter, Sarah, and I are trying to collect all of the teams, just so you know why I mentioned that.)
As for the game itself, Frisco beat the Corpus Christi Hooks 4-1. This was the final home game of the season for Frisco, and it was also fireworks night, so the crowd was larger than normal, but I couldn’t tell. This was my first trip to this ballpark, and all I was concerned with was taking pictures and eating the free food. Now that I know how cool this place is, I’ll make it a point to go to a few more games next season.
Here’s my obligatory “by the railing” photo….
Time of game: 2 hrs. 22 mins.
And here’s the only shot of the fireworks that came out halfway decent….
This was the fourth game of the series between the Rangers and Twins, and the second of the series that I attended. I went to game one and they won 8-5. Games two and three they lost after blowing the lead in both games. With the division on the line as well as the wild card, I was really hoping that the Rangers could pull it together tonight and start making up some ground.
Needless to say I was very excited about the game tonight.
I went to this game with my aunt Lori. We have gone to many games together over the years, and this was our second this year. We also went to the 6/12 game against the Dodgers.
We got to the park, and inside the stadium at around 6:15. I couldn’t leave work early for BP this time, because my manager was off and I had to stay until I got off at 5:30. Oh well, turns out that the Rangers didn’t hit at all, and the Twins didn’t hit for very long anyway. So, I wasn’t too upset over missing BP after finding that out.
The first thing we did after watching the grounds crew remove the cage was get food. Cheese fries and Dr. Pepper. Mmmmmmmm.
We found some empty seats in right-center field, and sat and ate our food. The temperature was around 96 degrees and it was humid. Eating scalding hot fries and sweating everywhere is not cool at all. We couldn’t finish our food fast enough.
When we finally did finish, we headed over to the centerfield gift shop to take advantage of the A/C. While we were in there, my aunt said that she would buy me a jersey since my birthday is next week.
I’ve often thought which jersey I would get if given the chance, and after much deliberation, I knew I wanted a red one (the Rangers brought red back into the fold this year, in case you didn’t know), but I decided that I wanted a blank one.
I love Josh Hamilton (not in that way though). I have both of his All-Star shirts, but I just find it hard to make that kind of monetary commitment to any current player. My fear is, I’ll get a certain player’s jersey and then they’ll get traded or suffer some sort of career-ending injury or something along those lines.
Is that weird of me to think that way?
Anyways, I got a blank red one off of the rack, and my aunt wanted to put my name on the back, so I grabbed the number 2 (my favorite number) and the letters P-O-W-E-L-L (my last name) and we went and paid for them. Then I had to wait in line to have the letters and number put on.
Without getting into too much detail and dragging this out more than I already have, I’ll just say that I wasn’t able to get those letters and number put on. The guy working the heat press said that it was an MLB thing. The letters are in the font they used last year, and the red jersey is brand new this year, so for whatever reason they couldn’t mix the two. Whatever, I’ll just go back and buy the letters another day and then go home and put them on myself.
Oh yeah, there was a baseball game.
We got to our seats out in left field just after the first pitch, and this was our view….
The sun was going down, but it was still miserably hot.
A friend that I work with was also at this game. Her husband’s company has season tickets on the first base side on the second row. She told me ahead of time to call her to see if there were any available seats around her, so we could all sit together. I called in the first inning and there were some empty seats, but I wanted to wait an inning or two to make sure no one was going to come in later.
I decided to kill some time, and went and got us both some ice cream. I went to the same stand I had gone to Monday night, and they still had various team helmets. I picked Seattle and Toronto and headed back to our seats and enjoyed all of the ice creamy goodness!
In around the 5th inning, she called me and said there were two open seats in her row, so we made our way over there and our view of the game changed to this….
Much better! I told my co-worker she was my new best friend!
Of course, those would be our seats for the remainder of the game. Here’s a couple shots I took of some of the players….
Here’s one of my aunt and I, along with her prized kettle corn….
Unfortunately, we didn’t even come close to any foul balls over there. A guy a few seats to our left caught one right before we walked down the stairs to sit there. Figures.
The Rangers had better control over this game, hitting four homeruns, including Julio Borbon’s first of his career, and two by Marlon Byrd. They would go on to win by the score of 11-1. That’s more like it!
11 runs on 17 hits helped give Derek Holland his 7th win of the year. The Twins had 10 hits, but could only manage 1 run.
Time of game: 2 hrs. 48 mins.
Next game: Tues. 9/1 vs. Toronto (Doubleheader!)
Here’s the helmets that I came away with from this game….
The Rangers had just finished up a long 10 game road trip with a 3-game series at home against Boston, and now the Twins were in town for a 4-game series. This was a Monday night game, Boston’s gone, so my friend Dirk and I figured this would be the perfect game to get us back in the groove.
We got to the park at around 4:40 or so, then waited for the gates to open at 5:00. When they finally did, we hurried through the bag check and raced to the LF seats to see that the Rangers were hitting.
They need to make up their minds. Sometimes they hit, and sometimes they don’t. With all of the rumors and so-called “reports” that I hear about the team needing to save money, not wanting to spend it on baseballs, and then coming to the park and seeing them hit really causes confusion. At least for me anyway.
Do they feel that they are saving money by only taking BP on the field every other game, or every few games?
They were hitting today, and that was really cool to see.
When we got to the LF seats, we checked the gaps and the visitors’ bullpen like we usually do, but they were empty. The stands in left were surprisingly bare also. Sweet! We were borderline giddy with anticipation because of all the possibilities!
The Rangers only hit for about 10-15 more minutes when we got there, and we didn’t get anything. The few homeruns that were hit to left field were nowhere near us, and all of the balls that went to the track or into the outfield in general, were all thrown in to the bucket. I didn’t see a single ball get thrown into the stands by the Rangers.
That I can understand. If a ball gets hit into the stands that’s one thing, but don’t throw any into the stands because that’s unnecessary spending. If that’s their thinking, I can’t argue with that.
The sun was brutal again today, thankfully we stopped and got some water bottles on the way to the park, because I don’t think I could have made it without them. If I had been getting some chances at some balls, I may not have noticed the heat as much, but standing in the same spot for any length of time sure made it hard to think about anything else but the heat.
We had about a 10 minute break before the Twins started hitting, and we used it to sit and cool off. Once they began to hit, we had a pretty good portion of the stands to ourselves. It didn’t really matter though, since we hardly had any action the whole time. Halfway through the Twins’ BP, a ball went into the visitors’ bullpen and Dirk set off after it. I didn’t watch him try for it, I was too concerned with trying to get a homerun ball. After a few minutes, he came over with the ball, and that would turn out to be the only one either of us would get.
Dirk had a close call with a homerun ball that was coming his way, but he gave way to allow a younger kid to catch it. Can’t say that I blame him, there’s not too many guys at the Ballpark in Arlington that do that unfortunately.
Once batting practice had concluded, we got our designated driver coupons, and got some pizza, cajun fries (big mistake), and a couple sodas.
Our seats were in left field for this game, and we only stayed there for maybe two batters. I love sitting there most of the time, just not when the sun is beating down on us.
We moved over to the third base side, which has recently become our favorite foul ball spot. There was one section in particular that was surprisingly empty, so we found a couple seats towards the back of that section, and those would be our seats for almost the whole game.
There was more action around us than normal. Most games we come within one section of a foul ball once during a game. This game, we had at least two or three balls that came within four or five rows of us! As well as a few more that were a section or two over.
The first half of the game, we had about 10-12 rows to ourselves. No balls were hit our way then. Gradually, people started to creep in around us and constricted our range. In around the 7th inning, we moved over almost a full section to our right, where we would have more room, but it didn’t matter. Nothing.
Backing up a little bit….
Around the top of the 6th inning, we decided to get some ice cream. The last game we attended we found out that the Ballpark in Arlington was using ice cream helmets once again (much to my delight!), so we were going for one of those for sure.
As we made our way to the ice cream stand, we noticed this….
Notice the helmets? That’s just a part of the selection they had that you could choose from. When they asked you what kind of ice cream you wanted, the next question was “What team?”. The particular stand that we were at did not have any Rangers helmets. WHAT?! Oh well, it was pretty cool to get a helmet of another team. It’s almost like I went to different stadium. Almost. Not really.
I went for the A’s, and Dirk got the Giants, then it was back to “our seats”.
When I finished with my ice cream, I realized that the above photo was the only one I had taken so far. So, I decided to take a few photos from where we were sitting….
I love that hill!
The above photo is one of my favorite views of the ballpark.
Don’t ask me why I took that last photo. Just wanted to, I guess.
The Rangers ended up winning this game 8-5, but it got a little sketchy at times.
Joe Mauer hit a solo shot to left center in the top of the 1st. That guy’s a stud! I know, I’m a Rangers’ fan, but have you noticed what kind of offensive numbers this guy is putting up? As of this morning (8/19), ESPN radio reported that he is batting .380 with 25 homeruns!
Don’t think that’s too impressive?
If he finishes the season with those same numbers, he’ll become only the fifth player in MLB history to do that. You may have heard of the other four:
Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, and Ted Williams.
Unbelievable. You go Joe!
The Rangers ended up using five pitchers out of the bullpen, but got the win anyways.
Time of game: 3 hrs. 20 mins.
Next game: Thurs. 8/20 also vs. the Twins
Here’s a photo of the two helmets I came away with….
The A’s I bought, and the SF Dirk gave to me because he had two. We were looking for some in the stands after the game, but I didn’t find any and Dirk found four.
Here’s the extra tickets I found also….
Since the last two games that I attended were minor league games, I was WAY overdo for some Major League Baseball.
We arrived at the gate at around 4:40 or so, and waited as patiently as we could for 5:00 to get here. When it finally did, we raced to the LF stands just in time to see this….
The Mariners were just coming out to stretch.
So, that gave Dirk and I time to check the gaps and stands for balls, which we found none. The Rangers must not have come out for BP today. Oh well, they’ve done that before.
Once the Mariners started hitting, we weren’t sure how it was going to go for us. We had been to a BP earlier in the year where the M’s hardly hit anything into the LF seats. Griffey and Ichiro have no problem supplying the people in the RF seats with balls, but we were skeptical of the righties on the team. After the first 10 minutes or so, that skepticism would soon fade away.
Dirk and I positioned ourselves on the railing, one section over from the visitors’ bullpen. Like I mentioned, there wasn’t much action for the first 10-15 minutes, but after that we had some shots at balls. At one point we were as close as 2-3 feet apart, and at that point some high school-aged kid thought that would be a perfect place for him to stand.
“Do you REALLY think you have ANY shot at a ball, standing between two adults with gloves?” That’s what I thought, not said.
I usually let a lot of things go, mainly to avoid any potential confrontations, but this kid was making it especially difficult for me to keep my mouth shut. All that came out of his mouth was negative. Some examples:
“Hey how ’bout a ball?” And when they would throw the ball in to the bucket, “Oh nice, real good. Way to appreciate the fans.”
Or when a player would go to retrieve a ball on the warning track, “I got jipped out of a ball earlier.”
Not to mention, he was responsible for Dirk and I both dropping a homerun ball. He bumped into Dirk and the ball fell in the gap, but Dirk was able to get it anyway. He bumped into me, and the ball skipped off the end of my glove and into the glove of a guy behind me.
First, don’t force your way into a space you shouldn’t be in, and then act like a (insert your own word here) while you’re there.
Second, no one gets jipped out of a ball. You either snag it, or you don’t. Plain and simple. Yes, I hold him responsible for missing a HR ball, but I blame myself also. I could’ve been more assertive, but that’s not who I am. I also don’t think that “entitles” me to whine to the players on the field like they owe me a ball.
Sorry for that rant, that guy just really got on my nerves.
Back to batting practice….
As I mentioned earlier, the skepticism in the M’s righties was short-lived. There were a lot more balls hit into the LF seats than we expected. Of course, there was a fairly decent crowd on hand, I guess because of it being cap night. So, our range was limited, leaving us to helplessly watch numerous balls fall into the gloves/hands of others.
At one point, a ball fell in the gap and Dirk gave me the heads up to go and get it. We take turns with gap balls, it’s kind of a routine between the two of us. So without any hesitation, I was on it.
I got to the spot where I figured the ball would be, looked down and scanned the area, and noticed the ball was in an odd spot. Here’s a photo I took a little while later to show the ball’s position….
This angle is actually looking down and to my left. The point of the arrow is in the exact spot that the ball was in.
The first plan of action was to get the ball out of that spot and into a position more directly underneath me. To do that, I had to lower my device (I decided to lower the device instead of my glove because it’s smaller, and I thought it would fit in that small space better) and swing it left to right approximately 6 feet. It was a little awkward at first, so it took me a few tries, and on the third or fourth swing I was interrupted by this guy….
Seattle pitcher David Aardsma.
He walked over and picked the ball up, and my first thought was “Cool, this guy’s gonna save me the trouble and just toss it to me!”
Turns out I was wrong.
Mr. Aardsma proceded to walk back up the stairs that lead into the visitors’ bullpen and throw the ball as hard as he could back toward the bucket.
There were so many thoughts going through my head at that point, that I didn’t say a word. What could I say? He didn’t have to give it to me. I had no legal right to that ball. To say I was mad though would be an understatement.
Partly for the fact that I was wearing a Mariners hat!
Oh well, there’s nothing left for me to say, except….
You have now been given a Zack Hample-esque “Powell Jinx”.
Consider this your official notification.
As numb as I was by this point, and as disinterested in BP as I became, I still managed to get 1 ball out of the gap. It helped, but there was still some pent up bitterness inside.
This ball turned out to be my 6th of the season, and 10th lifetime.
Batting practice ended with no more balls and no more incidents to report. It honestly couldn’t end fast enough.
We went and got our free drink vouchers after signing up to be designated drivers, cashed them in, and then got food. I had my usual cheese fries and Dr. Pepper, and felt much better!
We got to our seats with our food just in time for starting lineups and the national anthem. This was the awesome view I had from my seat….
I really can’t complain since Dirk bought my ticket, but still, how about a little “obstructed view” notice or something? Come on, Rangers!
The view of the game wasn’t really that bad, especially since the Rangers hit two homers on either side of us while we were out there.
We stayed in those seats until the top of the 5th, when we decided to go for ice cream.
A little back-story….
The last time I was at a Rangers game, I made my own ice cream helmet sundae in a roundabout way, and I fully intended to do the same thing this time, until we walked up to the ice cream booth and saw an amazing sight. They were using these….
I had no idea that a little piece of plastic could change my whole attitude!
After getting our ice cream, the next mission was to find a spot to eat it. Well, we found one. Section 15, on the lower level third base side, just past the infield. Here’s the view…
One odd thing that happened while we there….
A foul ball was hit about one section over to our left, and a guy in an aisle seat stood up and put his glove up, and let the ball bounce right off of his palm. Nothing special, right? It happens all of the time. Well, just keep reading….
A little while later, with a different pitcher on the mound and a different batter at the plate, another foul ball found its way to the exact same guy, and once again he muffed it! It hit off of his palm just like the first one did, and someone else got it just like the first one.
How weird is that? I heard about a guy in Oakland that had a similar experience in 2006, but he had a better turnout.
I thought that was worth sharing.
As the game wound down, instead of going behind homeplate like we usually do, I wanted to go over by the visitors’ bullpen to try and get a ball from the bullpen catcher. When we got over there, we saw this….
See the two pink backpacks? One is on the left end of the bench, and the other one is on the ground behind the white chair. That is “Seattle Mariner Rookie Initiation” at its finest.
I also saw this….
You see the ledge next to Phillips #62? Just in front of him, to the right? Knight helmets. I have no idea what those are for. More initiations? Maybe Mr. Todd Cook will leave a comment on this. He’s the biggest M’s fan that I know of. I’m curious to know what’s up with those.
The game was exciting from a Rangers fan point of view. Derek Holland pitched a perfect game into the 5th inning when he gave up the only Mariner hit until the top of the 9th.
Michael Young hit two homeruns, and Hank Blalock, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Marlon Byrd each hit one out to give the Rangers a 7-0 lead.
Holland retired the first two batters in the top of the 9th, then walked one and gave up his second hit of the game. Rangers manager Ron Washington made a pitching change with 2 outs in the 9th.
Warner Madrigal came in, walked one to load the bases, gave up an RBI single, then finally got the 3rd out.
Holland struckout 10 batters on the night. Rangers win 7-1.
Here’s a photo of the ball I got, and also one of some tickets I found after the game….
Next game: Mon. 8/17 vs. the Twins
And for the record – I didn’t get a ball from the Mariners’ bullpen catcher like I had hoped.
One parting shot of the Mariners’ bullpen guys walking off the field. Sorry for the blur, but I zoomed in as far as I could….
Well, the All Star break was finally over and the Minnesota Twins were in town for the weekend. My friend Dirk and I had planned on going to this game for a couple of weeks, since this was the first game back for the Rangers.
Fridays at the Ballpark in Arlington are Big Bang Fireworks Fridays, which means you get $10 tickets, $5 parking, and a fireworks show after the game. Our tickets were normally $25 each and parking is normally $12, so it is a really cool deal.
The only downside to the whole thing is, obviously, it brings more people to the ballpark. Oh well, it’s still better than some other parks out there.
We got to the third base gate at around 4:45 or so, and there was already about 20 people in line. On top of the other promotions, they were also giving t-shirts away to the first 10,000 fans. I didn’t take a picture of it, but you’re not missing anything. It’s a plain white shirt with “TEXAS” on the front (it looks just like the “TEXAS” on the ticket above), and on the back is a huge “SPONGETECH” logo. In case you’ve somehow missed their giant ads at the ballparks, here’s a photo I found on the internet….
Just imagine that going from shoulder to shoulder and being about 3-4 inches tall on the back of the shirt. Not real cool, but you can’t beat the price!
Here’s a photo I got someone to take of Dirk and I waiting in line….
We were a little leary about the bag check this game, simply for the fact that Dirk had brought his version of a “cup trick” for the first time, altough there was no cup used in this contraption. The best way to describe it is, a rubber boot with a 3 inch long, 2 inch diameter pipe in the middle, wrapped in electrical tape and spray painted red. Don’t understand that, well that’s the best I can do.
Surprisingly, we made it through the bag check rather easily, got our free shirts and headed over to the left field seats, just in time to see the last batter for the Rangers finish up. Aww Man!
The Twins had just come out on the field to stretch, so I knew we would have a little time to spare before they started hitting, so we started checking the gaps for balls. Dirk spotted one toward the back of the visitors’ bullpen in left field. There was already someone over there working on it, but he was struggling, so we made our way over there anyway. Apparently, he had been there for a while and was willing to give up, because when Dirk asked if he could give it a try, the guy didn’t even hesitate to step aside. Sweet! We would finally get to try out our new trick. We had practiced with it some at our houses, but there’s nothing like the real thing. Here’s a shot of Dirk lowering it for the first time….
The wall that we are lowering from is approximately 20′ tall, just to give you some perspective. That red spot you see in the top right corner is the other guys’ trick that he’s raising up. His trick used a small helmet (like an ice cream helmet) and that’s all I could really tell, I don’t know what he used for a weight.
Anyways, here’s an action shot of Dirk….
You can kind of get a better idea of how tall that wall is in this shot.
The problem with using anything other than a glove trick is, when you have a ball (like this one) that is out 3-4 feet from the wall, it is very hard to knock the ball closer. Although we had a decent amount of weight, the surface area needed to maneuver the ball was minimal. After about 10 minutes and repeated attempts at dropping the cup from the railing, this happened….
The string broke.
We waited around for about 5 minutes until a security guard came and got it for Dirk. He gave him his cup back, but not the ball. Oh well, we couldn’t complain too much, at least he didn’t throw away his trick.
We came to the conclusion that the amount of weight used, the height of the wall, and the type of string used was not a very good combination. So, Dirk tied the two broken ends together and we went back around to left field to get ready for the Twins BP.
To say that we missed out on some balls would be an understatement. The crowd for BP was not real big, but it would’ve been nice to have a few less people to deal with. I know I myself missed at least 4 or 5. And when I say “missed”, I mean I either misjudged or got screwed out of. Dirk could’ve had at least that many also. It was frustrating because I wanted a Twins commemorative ball real bad!
Everyone around me was getting one, and they were pearls too. By pearl, I mean pristine, gently used, no smudges. It’s like they opened 2-3 boxes of brand new ones and dumped them in the bucket. After 20 minutes or so, Dirk ran around to the LF bleachers to try for one in the gap, but to no avail, someone got it before he could get over there.
I didn’t notice when he came back around because I was still trying to catch a BP homer, but when he got back to left field, he started going for one in our section. I don’t know how I missed that one, but Dirk was on it, and after a few minutes he pulled this out of the LF gap….
The green mark on the front of the ball is from the wall that it hit before falling into the gap.
The commemorative logo is smudged, but we didn’t care, we were just happy to get one. I asked him if I could borrow it to take this photo when I got home, and he told me to keep it. After going back and forth about it being his ball, I conceded, although it won’t be included in my ball totals. It is cool to have though!
That would be the only ball to be had for the rest of BP. We fought through the heat as long as we could, then went to the concourse with only a few minutes remaining in batting practice. We signed up to be designated drivers and got coupons for free sodas that we chugged in no time.
After eating a very dry chopped BBQ sandwich, we made our way to our seats in LF which we stayed in until the 5th inning or so, when we decided to look for a foul ball spot. Never found a good one, so we went for ice cream.
Now, the Ballpark in Arlington does not have ice cream helmets, but I had an idea that I wanted to try out to beat the system. The souvenir stands sell small, ice cream-sized helmets for $1 and I figured I could buy one and take it to the ice cream stand and have them fill it up instead, and it worked! Here she is….
I did have to pay the regular sundae price which is $6, so when you add the $1 for the helmet, I had a $7 sundae. It’s okay, I got some satisfaction out of the fact that I was the only one in the ballpark that had one! That one’s for you Todd Cook!
We walked around some more, mainly looking for a good foul ball spot, but the ones we wanted were full, so we kept wandering. I didn’t take any pictures, don’t ask me why, I just didn’t.
We made it behind home plate for the 9th inning, but got nothing. Even after the game when we normally look for tickets and stuff, it was rough because a lot of people were hanging around to see the fireworks.
I did manage to find a few tickets….
Rangers lost 5-3 and lost ground to the Angels in the division.
Time of game: 2hrs. 44mins.
Attendance: 34,662 (more than I’m used to)
Next game: Possibly Wed. 7/29 vs. the Mariners
At the start of the season, my friends Dirk, Sam, Shawn & his dad Donnie, and myself decided to get tickets to this game. It was a 3:05 game on a Saturday, so we were going to drive down that morning, catch BP, see the game & drive home that night. Sounds easy enough right? Well, it was, kind of. Here’s us at 8:00 in the morning before hitting the road….
From left to right: Me, Sam, Dirk, Shawn, Donnie
We took my minivan, because the only other choice was Dirk’s Dodge Dakota, and we didn’t think 5 grown men would fit in there too well on a trip that was 4 hours one way. Not the coolest ride in the world, but we were comfortable! The DVD player helped too, watched “The Rookie” on the way down, and “Major League 2″ and “Field of Dreams” on the way home. Well, they watched and I listened.
We got to Houston and found a parking lot at around 12:30 or so. Thankfully, the lot was only $5 and it was about 5-6 blocks from the stadium. Here’s a random shot as we piled out of the van….
This was our first view of the stadium as we walked up the street….
We made our way around the stadium to find the Will Call booth, and made it there at about 12:45ish. Here’s Shawn, Dirk, and Sam at the window….
And this is the line at the Home Plate entrance, which we decided to use since we were right there….
When we finally made it inside, I ran around to right field. I didn’t take one photo along the way, because my only thought was all the balls I was missing out on, since the Astros were already taking BP. This is the 1st photo I took from inside the park, which is where I stayed for the Astros portion of BP….
Minute Maid Park has a retractable roof, for those of you that don’t know, and it was closed due to potentially bad weather. The centerfield wall is made of HUGE glass panels that open when the roof is open, and in front of the glass is a train track for the homerun train. Anytime the Astros hit a homerun, the train whistle blows and the train rolls down the track. Except for today, for some reason, it didn’t move at all. But here’s a look anyway….
See the seats out in left field? Those are the Crawford Boxes, and underneath that section is the visitors’ bullpen. Kind of different, but still cool to me anyway.
I came close to 2 balls during the Astros’ BP, closer than I have ever been and not gotten them. The 1st was a HR that I misjudged, and it cleared my glove by no more than an inch. I thought it was coming right to me, and it did. I thought I could jump and get it, but I couldn’t. I was upset, the ball hit the empty row behind me & flew back on the field, oh well, there was more BP to go. The 2nd was another HR that I played perfectly. I was on the aisle and the ball was hit straight to the staircase I was at, and all I had to do was go down about 2 steps, here it comes…, raised up my glove, getting closer…, about 10 feet away…, then right at the last second, some (@*&$#!) very anxious guy stuck his glove in front of mine and snagged it. To say I was upset with that one would be an understatement. I wasn’t mad at the other guy (I was at first) as much as I was mad at myself for not positioning myself right in the first place. That one took a little longer to shrug off, but I did, ’cause there was still more BP to go.
I met up with the guys for the Rangers’ portion of BP. They were one section over towards center. I didn’t even get close to any this time, but Shawn was able to snag a HR on the fly from Hank Blalock. Pretty cool too, he ranged about 10 feet to his left and snagged it between about 2-3 other people. I was happy for him, then I realized it’s kind of sad that we had to travel all the way to Houston just to snag a ball during Rangers’ BP.
Towards the end of the Rangers’ batting practice, Shawn noticed Josh Hamilton along the 3rd base line signing autographs. He wanted to get his BP ball signed, and I had my 2008 HR Derby ball with me (bought it on ebay). I have taken it to every game I have gone to since I bought it, with the intention of getting Josh to sign it, so far unsuccessfully. There was a TON of people over there already, and we didn’t know how much longer he would be signing, so we ran over there as fast as we could (getting told by security to slow down along the way). When we finally got over there, we squeezed our way down to the railing, just as Josh was making his way past our spot. He was slowly making his way toward the outfield, and we knew he would start coming back our way. Here’s a shot as he passed by the first time….
He did come back over, in fact he came over right next to Shawn, because there was a young boy from the “Make a Wish” foundation that was trying to get a bat signed. Josh signed the bat, posed for a couple photos with the boy, and took off towards the dugout. Pretty cool moment. No autographs for us though, but that’s okay, that young man had his “Wish” come true for sure.
The game itself was good, the Astros got on the board first with a Miguel Tejada solo homerun that had to be reviewed by the umpires. First time for the Rangers to be involved in a review of a HR. They wanted to make sure that a fan did not interfere with the ball as Nelson Cruz was trying to make a play on it at the RF wall. It was ruled a HR. Oh well. The Rangers got theirs later in the game!
After about the 3rd inning or so, Dirk and I decided to wander the stadium. We made our way from our seats in RF, towards centerfield. Minute Maid Park has a pretty cool “Wall of Fame” in straight away center. (It’s not officially called that, but I like that name). They showcase Jeff Bagwell and his 449 career homeruns. Here’s a photo of Dirk in front of it….
Each one of those white dots is an actual ball that has been fastened (I’m not sure how) to the wall. They’re all rubbed, scuffed, and smeared in different ways, which leads you to believe that they are actual game-used balls.
Also on the “Wall” is a photo timeline of Craig Biggio’s 3,000 hits. It’s pretty cool, if I liked the Astros I may have been more interested and taken some pictures. What I did take a photo of is the Homerun Pump. Here’s the pic….
From what I can tell, it does nothing more than keep track of the homeruns hit at Minute Maid. And I’m not sure if it’s just the Astros’ HRs, or all of them. Does anyone know?
After seeing the pump, we walked over to LF behind the Crawford Boxes, which are what those left field seats are called because Crawford Street runs right behind the wall at left field. Here’s a couple views from that spot….
While we were standing there, Nelson Cruz hit his 2nd HR of the day off the CF wall. Followed immediately by Hank Blalock’s solo shot that landed 3 rows in front of our seats! Figures. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway, we wouldn’t have had any shot at getting that ball (even though the guy who caught it threw it back).
Here’s a shot of the centerfield concourse area….
So, we continued on our journey around the park, stopping in the obligatory gift shop to see what they offer that the Rangers don’t. Which is nothing, by the way. Although Dirk did purchase some Astros inflatable bats for his 2 kids.
This is what the concourse behind our seats looked like….
We made our way back to our seats somewhere around the 7th inning, and stayed there until the end of the game. The Rangers won 6-3, thanks to Nelson Cruz blasting 2 HRs. Scott Feldman went 6-2/3 innings and picked up his 3rd win (3-0).
And, of course, we did our usual “scavangering” (is that a word?) after the game, and I came away with 3 ice cream helmets, 4 cups (their cups are pretty cool compared to the Ballpark in Arlington), and some tickets. Here’s what they look like….
The trip home was somewhat of an adventure. When we reached the van after the game, we realized that one of the tires was flat on the van. After about an hour delay, we were on our way home, after stopping for some Mexican food of course.
Next game: Monday 5/25 vs. The Stankees….